Perfect Items For Your Active Toddler

If you’re a mother you will agree that the days in which you could just lay your baby on the floor and wave a rattle to pacify them were awesome. Each month your baby grows by leaps and bounds and their learning is pretty damn remarkable. One month they can barely focus on your face and then they can hone in on the tiniest piece of dirt on your rug, crawl over and then pick it up with their cubby fingers (or maybe that’s just my kid and she hates a dirty house just like her OCD momma!).

From laying them on the floor to chasing them around the kitchen, each phase is sweet, wonderful and has its difficulties. My 22 month old is no longer satisfied by a rattle or Sophie the teething toy. Some days are filled with laughter with silly dance moves, singing songs, reading about Pooh and playing with her dolls. Then are those days where Lily buzzes from one toy to the next while falling to the ground in a very dramatic tantrum in between each toy because she became tired of it. Those are the days I literally pull anything from a purse, cabinet or closet to keep her entertained. Those days often end a very messy house while I prop my feet up to enjoy a well deserved frosty adult beverage.

I have shared with you plenty of ideas on how to keep your toddler busy (here and here). Today I share some of the items that helped keep me sane and an energetic toddler entertained while in isolation for 4 months battling her molescum and the 10 days healing over her 5 stitches (had to remain inside to keep the finger clean and dry). You don’t realize how hard it can be to continue to care for and entertain a toddler when certain activities (like taking a bath or playing in a sand box) are no longer an option due to a boo-boo. So take a look at all the ways I have kept Lily in good spirits over the last couple of months!

Fun list of toys and items to keep an active toddler going! There are plenty of games and activities, but sometimes a trampoline is the only thing that my crazy toddler wants to play with! And that trampoline is GOLD! Great list to save for gift ideas for the grandmas, aunts & uncles too!

1. Jumpsmart Trampoline by Diggin ($69 from Amazon)

Jumping has to be Lily’s favorite activity. Because she loves the trampoline at her gym so much I put the Jumpsmart Trampoline on Lily’s Amazon wish list for Christmas. This toy has been in the middle of my living room since Christmas. Yes it may be an eye sore smack dab in the middle of my family room (no separate playroom in my house), but that toy gets so much use that I don’t care. There are handle bars for your kid to hold on to and a digital counter that let’s them know how many jumps they’ve accomplished. This toy is perfect for the toddlers who are always on the go! Lily get’s on there and bounces until she is tired and then her naps are long and she doesn’t fight bed time…and for that I’m willing to keep it in the living room! (The only time we had to put this trampoline up was when she received her stitches and it was hard for her to hold on to the safety handles.)

2. Bosu Ball

The Bosu ball is for my exercise but because my child is obsessed about jumping and bouncing I let her sit and bounce on her bottom. I also let her hold on to my bed and jump on it (of course I am standing by her for safety). When I’m trapped inside with my kid I will use just about anything to keep her happy, including my exercise equipment! This is proof that you can use items in your house that aren’t marketed for kids!

3. Playhut Mega Fun Play Tent ($59.99 from Toys R Us)

Active toddler or not, any kid loves to play in tents and tunnels! We have a bag of balls from her first birthday and she loves to dive quickly in her tent into the balls {insert funny joke here}. The best part is that it easily collapses and folds into a small bag for storage!

4. Elmo’s World Super Sticker Book ($7.99 from Toys R Us)

We had a blast on the airplane with this sticker book…and we still do. Yep Lily loved it so much I purchased a brand new one so she could have a field day all over! There are over 200 stickers and plenty of themed (i.e. school, cooking, outdoors) blank pages that you can adhere the stickers to for imagination and art play.

5. Mini Bean Bags ($10.69 from Amazon)

This is a recent purchase that we broke out when Lily got her stitches. You get 12 bright colored bean bags the games to play with these are endless. We balance them on our heads and walk around the kitchen. We toss them in an empty box. We throw them in the air and see how many we can catch. We line them up and try and jump over them. We put them on her trampoline and make them bounce and while we play I quiz her on her colors and try to get her to use her words.

6. Kidkraft food play set (125 pieces)($19.99 from Target)

7. Playskool Sesame Street Come ‘N Play Cookie Monster kitchen playset (Purchased for at Target with a clearance sticker (whoop whoop) for $40 and online it reads $59.99)

Watching your child’s imagination is a lot of fun. Lily will mix an egg with a hot dog, sprinkle some salad dressing on top and serve it to me with a proud grin. In her world she is a chef! Plus this activity is perfect in the mornings when she is buzzing around from 8 hours of perfect sleep and I can enjoy a cup of coffee in attempts to reach her energy level. For Christmas we gave Lily Sesame Street kitchen set and a cheap set of plastic food from Target. This kitchen is perfect for a small area and because I wasn’t sure if she would play with it often I opted for a smaller kitchen set. Cookie Monster makes funny “nom nom” voices when you place food near his mouth and you can place food in Elmo & Abbie’s mouth (the food falls into the oven for easy collection. The Kidkraft food play set is the only one I could find that for the price gave you so much! The one we purchased had 89 pieces and the one Target sells now has 125 pieces of food for only $19.99!!! Plus all 125 pieces can fit perfectly in the container it comes in for easy storage.


8. Mala Art Easel ($14.99 Ikea)

Lily is a coloring fool and this art easel sits in the corner of our living room so she can doodle whenever her little heart wants to! I also gave it a mini-facelift with some gold paint so it blended in with our home décor better (read about that DIY project here). The best part….the price….only $14.99. We keep some crayons in a tiny bucket from Target’s dollar section. Tip: When you’re out at a restaurant save the crayons they give you and bring them home! If your kid doesn’t even play with them then the box or plastic bagged crayons are perfect to store in your diaper bag for emergency Picasso moments!

9. Megabloks 80 pc large classic bag ($17.99 Amazon)

They may be noisy, but Lily gets a kick out of building a tall structure and knocking it down! This set has large blocks so there is no choking hazard. Plus I like the reusable storage bag it comes in!

10. Melissa & Doug Jumbo Knob Wooden Farm Puzzle (under $15 on Amazon)

11. Melissa & Doug Farm Sound Puzzle (under $12 on Amazon)

Puzzles not only keep your kid busy, but the learning that goes hand in hand with the play time makes the purchase a no brainer! Your kid builds hand eye coordination, is encouraged to problem solve, develops fine motor skills and learns language. Our two favorite puzzles are from Melissa & Doug. The farm animal one is perfect for beginners due to the large knobs making it easy for pick up. The animal puzzle actually makes noises! When you place the dog or horse in it’s correct spot you will hear their bark or neigh!

12. Step2 Frog Sandbox ($59.99 0n sale $44.99 Toys R Us)

We live 45 minutes from the beach, yet we rarely visit. So we have this frog sandbox on the back patio for Lily to go crazy in. We have umbrella in a stand next to it to provide some comfort for her and me while we hang out in the heat. For all the sand toys I snatched up some cheap ones from Target

13. Crayola Sidewalk Chalk (under $2 at Walmart)

Chalk is an activity that Lily can do inside when it rains on her Ikea art easel or on the patio. This chalk is washable and for under $2 you get 15 pieces! Tip: only give your toddler five pieces of chalk (or more its up to you) and save the rest. Lily has thrown her chalk in the water and somehow lost a few in the backyard, but because I hoard some extra in the garage I have plenty to replenish the lost or broken ones. Another tip: grab a cup of water, a paint brush and let your kids use imaginary paint to create shapes or squiggles on the driveway!

14. Room Essentials Spot Sprinkler ($3.99 from Target)

Sprinklers and childhood go together just like peanut butter and jelly. Heck take the sprinkler off and a kid will have a blast with the water hose alone! This cheap sprinkler head is not only charming but creates a great water fountain that my kid will play in. This sprinkler will get a lot of use this summer!

15. Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon ($79.99 from Amazon)

We have had a lot of fun with our wagon. We loop around the neighborhood pretending to be a choo-choo train and use it to collect treasures (aka rocks or fallen magnolia leaves). With the brutal sun in Florida we have the canopy shade attachment to keep the babe as comfortable as possible while strolling the hood.

All of these items have been purchased, however there are so many items around the house that I have used to pacify my active toddler. Take a flashlight in a closet or under a blanket for some fun. Or bring that flashlight under a fort made from blankets and chairs. I give Lily rides around the house by pushing her in the laundry basket (warning this is a workout and they will want you to do it again…again…and again). Empty oatmeal containers filled with some uncooked pasta make fun sounds. Pots & pans, Tupperware, wooden spoons, mixing bowls, cotton balls, tissue (yes we toss them in the air to make them fly!)…you get the point!

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